Archives For THN-OKC

The Timberwolves are professional basketball players; moving on from tough losses is part of the job. The Wolves have four games in the next five days, two of them on the road, three of them against probable playoff teams. They’ll just have to figure it out. Still, its hard for me to imagine how they’ll manage to put this one behind them.

There is the obvious heartbreak of losing despite Kevin Love’s touched performance. There is the reality that four players played at least 44 minutes in a draining, fiercely competitive double-overtime game. And then there is the rather nauseating thought that if the Wolves had made a single play in the last 46 seconds of overtime, they would have won. If they could have rebounded James Harden’s three point miss; if they could have prevented Russ Westbrook from hitting that impossible midrange floater; if Love had not been called for that travel (which call, given the game’s intensity, the paucity of whistles in its last minutes and the relative insignificance of the little foot-shuffle, seems a little petty to me); if Love had switched harder onto Kevin Durant on that tying three; if J.J. Barea had hit that pristinely wide-open jumper at the buzzer…I don’t even want to get into Anthony Tolliver missing that uncontested doorstep layin, down by three with three minutes left in the second overtime. Anybody feel like playing another basketball game against another good team on Sunday?

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When the Spurs ground the Wolves into little dusty pieces on Wednesday, I was disappointed but not surprised. The Wolves looked every inch the team laboring through an epic mid-season road trip, missing their starting point guard, starting center and best wing scorer; the Spurs crushed them with superior talent, energy and savvy. Truth be told, I was expecting the same thing on Friday against the Thunder. There was, it seemed to me, very little chance that this undermanned, road-weary crew could make a game of it on the road against the best team in the Western Conference.

And sure enough, there were moments in which the Wolves looked like just another version of their bad, old selves. They were shredded by opposing guards; they made absurd defensive mistakes (ah, two straight goaltends on Kendrick Perkins shots that had very little chance of going in?); during one incredibly annoying stretch of third-quarter, they took, and missed, five consecutive hurried threes. Also, though, they scored 140 points, put on one of the most inspiring displays of resolve and endurance I’ve seen in a while and maybe ought to have won the game. Did I mention how incredibly intense and exciting and exhausting this game was? I’ll have more on this tomorrow when I’m less wiped out, but for now enjoy some grades.

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